TOPEKA — Shawnee Mission East failed to add another championship to its Kansas state boys swimming and diving dynasty Saturday at Capitol Federal Natatorium, but the Lancers were pleased nonetheless with a runner-up finish in Kansas Class 6A.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
“Considering what we lost from last year’s team, to get second is no disgrace,” SM East coach Wiley Wright said. “They did great – and what a way to end the season on this relay. The kids were great and worked hard all year for us.”
The Lancers, who totaled 274 points and finished behind only Wichita East (308), had one individual champion, senior Troy DeMoss, but capped the meet with a first-place finish in the 400-yard relay.
Junior Zack Holbrook fended off a charge from Maize senior Lucas Popp, who won the 50 and 100 freestyle titles en route to swimmer of the meet honors, as SM East’s relay struck gold.
DeMoss, senior Christopher Watkins and junior Jackson Granstaff also swam a leg for the Lancers, who finished in 3 minutes, 10.67 seconds.
“That was one of the more emotional moments of my life right now,” DeMoss said. “It’s overwhelming to know that I’m never going to be swimming here with those guys again, but I know the legacy of (SM) East will continue. Winning that last gold makes it a little less bittersweet goodbye.”
DeMoss won the 200 individual medley in 1:53.86, edging runner-up Chris Clemons of Maize by 1.39 seconds.
“For him to end his career on a high note with two school records, that was fantastic,” Wright said.
Musser claims double gold
Following in his older brother’s footsteps, Blue Valley Northwest senior Jesse Musser snagged two gold medals in his final high school meet.
Musser breezed to the crown in the 200 freestyle in 1:38.47, finishing 2.88 seconds ahead of runner-up Canaan Campbell, a Lawrence Free State junior (1:42.35).
Musser also won the 500 freestyle in 4:32.06. Again, Campbell settled for second after touching the wall 5.6 seconds behind Musser.
“I was eyeing a couple of the state records,” Musser said. “I knew it was a long shot, but it’s always nice to have something to shoot for and I knew I would get first more than likely. That gave me some motivation, but I’m not disappointed that I didn’t get them.”
Musser wound up only 0.14 seconds off former Olathe East star Ben Bravence’s 2011 state-meet record in the 500 and was 0.75 seconds off Bravence’s record in the 200.
Hearl handles move to Class 6A
Blue Valley senior Chris Hearl, who swept the Class 5-1A titles in the 100 butterfly and backstroke as a junior, didn’t let the bump in class faze him.
Hearl won the Class 6A 100 backstroke in 50.90, missing a state-meet record by 0.16 seconds, and finished second to Wichita East senior Jake Spitz in the 100 butterfly.
“I was still pretty confident coming in that I could win, but it was a shock still because it was even more competitive than I expected and the atmosphere was more nerve-racking,” Hearl said.